A play about love, sex, ambition, and the Arab American experience, Roar is the story of a Palestinian-American family living in Detroit in the wake of the first Gulf War. Karema and Ahmed Yacoub work long hours in their liquor store while their teenage daughter Irene relentlessly pursues a career as a pop star. All hell breaks loose when a notoriously sexy and scandalous relative Hala gets thrown out of Kuwait and arrives on the doorstep without a return ticket.
Roar premiered at the New Group under the direction of Marion McClinton and starred Annabella Sciorra and Sarita Choudhury.
Roar is part tender drama and part searing comedy. The young writer Betty Shamieh has the playwright’s most essential gift: the passion for talk. Ms. Shamieh’s rich, urgent prose will catch you up, then fling you into a character’s life as if it were your own. In Roar, we meet two generations of Palestinian-Americans living in Detroit during the first Gulf War. Don’t expect the grim worthiness of a “problem play”; expect unpredictable events, relationships, and humor.”
~The New York Times
“The words of this play first hum, then sing and ultimately roar into your consciousness and soul.”
“Roar opened Off-Broadway and made an immediate impact. It deals with a family of outsiders who, like the Younger family in A Raisin in the Sun, are also struggling with the concept of assimilation -- but this family of uprooted Palestinians sees the world in a considerably different and far more complex way. Although it deals largely with the Palestinian experience, Roar is fundamentally about the American dream
“Roar is not at all the lightweight issue-oriented play it first appears, but rather a layered, family-oriented tragic drama in the tradition of The Glass Menagerie or Long Day's Journey Into Night. If Shamieh's not quite ready to stake her claim as not only one of the best and most important playwrights of her generation but as a dramatist as significant in her way as Tennessee Williams and Eugene O'Neill were in theirs, Roar certainly suggests the day that will happen is not far off.’
“Roar isn’t just the story of Palestinian-Americans living in Detroit: it’s an unsentimental look at family life in all its frustrating complexity.”